Art, Architecture, and Learning in Egypt

Some of the information on this page comes from Prentice Hall, Ancient Civilizations

Key Words: Sculpture, anatomy, papyrus

Essential Question: What were some of the main features of Egyptian art and architecture? What was the evolution of language and its written forms?

Home for the Dead – One of the most important buildings that Ancient Egyptians built were temples. Click here for a link to a few Egyptian Pyramids and Temples. Most temples were built from mud or stone that were mined from far distances and then transported over large distances.  The Egyptians created temples for their gods and tombs for their pharaohs.

Tombs for the Pharaohs – Tombs of early rulers were underground chambers, or rooms.  The burial chamber contained items hat the ruler might want in the afterlife.  An architect named Imhotep designed a new kind of tomb for his pharaoh, with six stone mounds, one on top of the other.  The result is known as a Step Pyramid.  Later architects made the sides smoother to create a true pyramid. Click here to follow National Geographic through the evolution of the pyramid.  Here is another link that will show you the progression towards the true pyramid.

Great Pyramids – Three enormous pyramids were built at Giza by King Khufu, his son Khafre, and his grandson Menkaure.  The tallest of these is the Great Pyramid of Khufu.  The Great Pyramid of Khufu was the world’s tallest building for more than 4,000 years.  Nearby stands the famous statue known as the Sphinx.  The great age of pyramid buildings ended about 2200 B.C.  Pharaohs who ruled after that time carved tombs from the cliffs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.

Painting and Sculpture – Egyptians were skilled artist as well as builders.  Most of the information we have about life in Ancient Egypt comes from paintings found on the walls of tombs.  Although these paintings show Egyptians at work and at play, their purpose was not decoration.  The paintings were created to provide the person buried in the tomb with all of the objects and pleasures shown on the walls.

Egyptians artist also created wonderful sculptures.  A sculpture is a stature made of clay, stone, or other materials. Most Egyptians sculptures were statues of people or gods.  Colossal statues of gods stood in temples.  Smaller statues of once-living Egyptians were placed in tombs along with their mummies.  If the person’s mummy was destroyed, the statue could replace it as a home for the dead person’s spirit.

Advances in Knowledge – The Egyptians made advancements in their knowledge.  From the their work with mummies, for example, they learned much about human anatomy.  Anatomy is the study of the body and its organs.  Egyptian doctors also studied diseases and developed medicines to treat them.

Measuring Time – The Egyptians developed the first accurate calendar. Like most early peoples, they measured time by the cycles of the moon.  The result was a lunar, or moon-based, calendar of about 360 days.  This lunar calendar worked adequately for many purposes, but it was not accurate enough to predict the flooding of the Nile.  Egyptians developed “Nilometer” – a form of calendar based on the height of the Nile’s flooding.  To improve their predictions, the Egyptians developed a 365-day calendar, which was the first calendar based on the solar year.  Every four years the Egyptians added an extra day to keep their solar calendar accurate.

Early Egyptian Writing – The Egyptians created a writing system around 3000 B.C. The Egyptian’s writing system was discovered by John and Deborah Darnell in 1995.  The writing was discovered on a picture carved into the side of a cliff.

The First Paper –  Egyptians invented the worlds first paper.  They made paper from papyrus, a reed that grows along the Nile.  Our word paper comes from the Greek word papyrus.  Scribes wrote in ink on papyrus sheets.  Papyrus could last a long time.  Many documents were written on papyrus – including medical books, calendars, stories, poems, and prayers-have survived to the present.

How you can add this to your writing:  These are different ways you can think about adding aspects of Ancient Egyptian Art, Architecture and Learning to your writing.

Art, Architecture and Learning in Egypt

I can add Art, Architecture, and Learning in Egypt to my writing by
making the main character build a pyramid for Khufu.  I can talk about
the way his pyramid is build and what it looks like on the inside and
the outside.  DON’T Forget to show and not tell!!

I can talk about how my family uses the Egyptian calendar to predict
the flooding of the Nile.  OR I can add a part where my character
creates the calendar that predicts the flooding of the Nile.

I can add a part that talks about going to the Nile to get papyrus to
take to school.  At school I can learn how to read and write.

I can write about sculpting the Sphinx and why it looks the way it does.

I can add apart that talks about the different pyramids and how the
new pyramids that have the true pyramid shape keep grave robbers like
Sheftu out!

I can add a part where my character sees the Sphinx being built.  My
character can talk about what he or she thinks about it.

I can add a part where my character learns how to turn papyrus into paper.

I can add a part where my character is learning how to sculpt an image
of the pharaoh.

I can add a part where someone tries to rob one of the great pyramids
or my main character has to rob a pharaoh’s tomb.

I can add a part where someone in the story dies and my character has
to build a temple for them or a sculpture of them.

Maybe the Sphinx comes to life and my character has to fight the
Sphinx to walk to Khufu’s pyramid.

I can write about what it was like for my character to build a pyramid.

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